- Well, we have reached that time of year when football is on...but our team is off (the ol’ extended bye week, as it were). I guess from a football standpoint, it was an okaaaaaaaay wild card weekend. No need to break it all down as I am sure most of us caught the action. Of all the things I saw on the gridiron this weekend, one player stood out to me: Marcus Mariota. Sure, he threw a touchdown pass to himself. Sure, he had eight carries for 46 yards. Sure, he hit eight different receivers (one of them being Mariota) in what was a halfway decent passing day. For my money, I was going nuts when he laid the block to free up Derrick Henry for the first-down run that secured the victory. Did you see the defensive players (including Brian Orakpo) run onto the field and show him mad love? I can’t believe how much that play affected me, but when Mariota’s shoulder went into Frank Zombo’s chest (great name), I jumped out of my seat. It’s the dream! I mean, think about it. It’s freaking pee-wee ball at its best! The best player on the team does it all: run, throw, catch...block?!?!?!? I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure Mariota was spotted vending beer in the lower bowl. I would otherwise have no reason to get so excited (I’m not a big Titans guy, and not a big Oregon guy), but if you’re looking for a team to watch moving forward, you might try Tennessee. I’m pretty sure Mariota’s teammates are going to find another level in the next game at which to play for him, and boy are they going to need it. The Titans have no business beating a team like the Patriots, but the truth is they shouldn’t have beaten Kansas City. In the game of football, moments like this one can have a weird impact on the moments that follow, and when one man does something extraordinary, it can inspire greatness in those around him.
- Does anyone feel sorry for the Kansas City Chiefs and Andy Reid for losing six straight home playoff games? No? Okay...moving on.
- Is the general consensus that the Divisional round of the playoffs is the greatest weekend on the NFL calendar (let’s kick that debate up below)? I tend to enjoy the Wild Card round myself, but I would probably vote Divisional if given the choice. There’s only one team playing this weekend that doesn’t have double-digit wins (Titans). All the home teams are powerhouses. I guess if I had to throw out a parlay ticket, it would go: Saints, Falcons, Steelers...Titans. Ha...you think I am going to waste an entire point in my Sixpack and then not bet on it? I HATE that the Sunday schedule ends so early. Why wouldn’t you still try and hit primetime for a playoff game? Thankfully, I think the best game this weekend will be the last game: Saints/Vikings. I just don’t know how you bet against Drew Brees and that offense right now—and I don’t disrespect the Vikings defense at all. The men in purple are awesome...but the boys from the French Quarter might be too unstoppable.
- At this point, ladies and gentlemen, we are 65 days away from free agency, which begins on March 14 this year. Based on Spotrac figures, the league average in terms of salary cap space —at the moment—is about $36 million. The Redskins—at the moment—have approximately $52 million in space. I know one way that we might eat into that figure aggressively, and I hope we do it (ahem...pay Kirk...cough), but if we are being honest about our roster, I think we could all agree that it isn’t like we have nearly as many holes to fill as we have had in the past. Don’t get me wrong--we need players...talented, starting players. I think one thing the Redskins can do with Kirk Cousins is say, “We have enough money to sign you AND pay to bring in a few players on offense that can help you right away.” The list of wide receivers that Bill put in the recent 5 O’Clock Club had a lot of good names. Many of the best names will stay put, but what if Jarvis Landry was all of a sudden available? We could do that deal. We have the draft to continue to add young players on the defensive line, and we aren’t likely to break the bank for positions like running back and cornerback in free agency, meaning we can target a top wide receiver in free agency and draft a running back that can come in and play right away. The reason why that wide receiver would want to come here: Kirk Cousins. (Is anyone else feeling Allen Robinson, too?)
- At this point, we are a solid fifteen weeks away from the draft. Of course, we at Hogs Haven will be pumping out our annual series of profiles. Gabe, Aaron and the team will be hard at work from now until the draft educating us on as many prospects as you can handle. We will also be coordinating with Steve Shoup, as we always do, to get our draft board in order before the big show (yes, I hate that it’s in Dallas, but whatever). As I mentioned above, the draft is likely going to be where we go to get a running back. You will be hearing for months about the running back strength of this draft class, and the Redskins...ummmmmm...have a need. If you are going to be paying your quarterback top dollar, and you have a solid corps of players locked up through 2020/21 on well-sized contracts, you aren’t likely to be in the business of paying running backs. This would be my strategy. I see the Redskins taking a running back in the first or second round this year—again, with the notion that this gives Kirk Cousins everything he needs to be successful. There are some guys that can start right away that will be around when we draft in the second round. I would be pretty shocked if that’s not where strike.
- It’s a long way until mid-July, when training camp opens, and even longer until September 6, 2018, when the 2018 season kicks off. Let’s not put that countdown up just quite yet. After all, we will be thoroughly enjoying ourselves bringing you season two of Offseason On the Brink. We’ll be live on Hogs Haven’s Facebook Live every Tuesday around 9 PM (ish). We have some awesome guests lined up, and some awesome bottles of whiskey to knock down. As is our custom, we will be sure to do our best to highlight any former Redskins still dancing in the playoffs, and we will...probably...be talking about...Kirk Cousins. Probably...if there’s enough whiskey. Welcome to the offseason y’all!
Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays (Monday Night Edition)
Though the NFL Playoffs roar on, it was week one of the offseason for Redskins fans.